Strong start for British team at the Breitling Regatta in Medemblik 24/5/07

Britain’s Olympic sailing hopefuls made a strong start at the newly-named Breitling Regatta (formerly the Holland Regatta) in Medemblik on Wednesday (23 May), with Stevie Morrison-Ben Rhodes, Penny Clark and Ed Wright amongst the Skandia Team GBR sailors making an early mark.

The International Regatta Centre in Medemblik may have been bathed in sunshine for this first day of racing at this ISAF Grade 1 event, but light winds prevailed across the Ijsselmeer, leading to a slow start for more than 730 sailors competing here in Holland.

Once the postponement flag was lowered, the 49ers were one of the first classes to see some action. Paul Campbell James and Mark Asquith got the best start of the British 49er contingent with a third from the first race, but after a seventh from their regatta opener, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes warmed up as the day went on. They notched up a second in the second race before ending the day on a high with a race win putting them into second place on the overall leaderboard.

In the heavyweight Finn class, European Champion Ed Wright is also in second place overall at the end of the first day – he scored a second and an eighth from the fleet’s two races on Wednesday – while in the women’s single-handed Laser Radial class, Penny Clark made the most of the light wind conditions to post a 2,1,11 which sees her into third place, with Charlotte Dobson not far behind in fifth.

After finishing 12th in the first Yngling race of the regatta, Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson went on to cross in sixth and third in the last two races of the day to put them into fourth overall, while Shirley Robertson, Annie Lush and Lucy Macgregor had a disappointing first day with a black flag in the second race sandwiched by results of 24 and 20 in the first and third races. They’re currently in 28th overall.

Nick Dempsey is in sixth in the RS:X men’s windsurfing event with a 2,13 from his opening two races, while Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark posted consistent results of 9,11 in the 470 women’s fleet to see them in seventh place. Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield are tenth in the 470 men’s event after three races.

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson didn’t have the best of starts in the Star class – on their first day back the Olympic classes since bowing out of the America’s Cup with 39 Challenge, they almost missed their first race start when they managed to get their tow rope wrapped around their rudder. They made the start line, albeit at the unfavourable end, and finished 18th in the first race and improved to 11th in the second race of the day to sit in 15th overall at the end of day one.

Results from the Laser and Tornado classes not published yet.